Schwab: Kids’ are all right, if a tad cold; nation’s another matter

Alabama’s IVF ruling shows the dangers in the creep of theocracy into our courts and other institutions.

By Sid Schwab / Herald Columnist

It’s hemi-heartening that there’s been an uproar over the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling regarding in-vitro fertilization (IVF); namely that frozen, fertilized eggs are “children” in need of protection from murder.

Even hard-core, anti-choice Republicans, though far from all of them — including whoever placed that bomb outside the home of the district attorney who said he’d not enforce it — are backpedaling. Many of them previously signed legislation declaring that life begins at fertilization, putting IVF at risk (Vox: tinyurl.com/children4u).

Even referring to frozen, fertilized eggs as embryos is a stretch, in that they’re generally fewer than a dozen cells. To make sure those “children” are doing their chores and going to bed on time, you’ll need a microscope.

Only one of those judges, all of whom are Republicans, foresaw the closing of IVF programs, which help not only women trying to get pregnant but also ones undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, who have eggs harvested before treatment. Because some of the intended implants are found unsuitable or die, they’re discarded, making IVF personnel murderers; a risk many are unwilling to face.

There’s not been a clearer preview of America under MAGA-trending theocratic governance. That this specific outrage has some Republicans scrambling doesn’t change the fact that reactionary, Bible-based thought underpins most of their agenda, whether it’s women’s health, LGBTQ+ issues, school prayer and curricula, books and more.

With enviable insight into God’s thinking, the chief justice of Alabama’s court explained his Biblical concurrence: “In summary,” he wrote, “the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself. … [E]ven before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”

As the Alabama legislature hurries to exempt people who live in freezers, one wonders if such a law would require their court to reverse itself. “We got it wrong. Turns out God doesn’t believe that.”

Tom Parker, the aforementioned chief justice (but not Elvis’ manager), revered by far-right, forced-birth conservatives, had an interview with a QAnon-positive podcast, where he espoused the “Seven Mountain Mandate,” which promotes the wedging of Christian nationalism into all aspects of American life, to bring about the End Times. He is, of course, free to believe whatever he wants, but it has no place in judicial rulings or legislation. Nevertheless, he and all of those justices were elected, by people who must either want theocracy or are too high on Trump’s anticipated government weaponization against liberals to care. In this case, “End Times” refers to democracy.

“Theocratic” also describes the latest CPAC attendees, who cheered a man holding up a crucifix, saying it signifies the law they want. Neo-Nazis were there, too (HuffPost: tinyurl.com/nazis4u). Which didn’t stop Trump, Cruz, Gaetz, Tuberville, MTG, faux Christians all, from showing up to preach their gospel. Trump’s was a promise that, “[for] liars and cheaters and fraudsters and censors and imposters who have commandeered our government, [the day after my election] will be their judgment day.”

“They want to steal my liberty,” he added. Which, coincidentally, is what happens to criminals when justice prevails. No one projects like Trump.

Even America’s worst leaders, like Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, plus former “president” Trump, atypically wind-fingering majority opinion, are expressing support for IVF. To his credit, Trump has also spoken in favor of a 16-week abortion ban, more liberal than hardly any of his supporters would accept. Seeing if he changes his tune as his handlers panic, will be interesting. His reason, though, is consistent with his usual effort to understand complex issues: he likes 16 weeks because it’s “a round number” (New York Times: tinyurl.com/sixteen4u).

Theocracy and autocracy go hand in hand (as long as it’s not people of the same sex interdigitating). It’s perfect for America’s most repetitive scammer. The least religious, most profane person ever to become “president,” Trump has convinced millions of the opposite. His pretense of belief is like his hugging and kissing the flag, of which he made another shabby show at CPAC. This, while promising to turn government into a vehicle of vengeance; while degrading the indispensable protectors of our flag: free elections, and the law. That kind of “love” is the kind that kills.

But since his only consistent agenda is to punish those who, following the laws of our land, are attempting to hold him to account, Trump will happily cede policy decisions to Christian nationalists while he goes about having enforcers of the law and us liberal “vermin” pilloried in the public square.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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